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Hajj visas for Egypt MPs who backed Saudi island transfer deal

July 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Thousands of pilgrimage visas have been given to Egyptian MPs who voted in favour of handing over the two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the New Arab has reported.

The Saudi Embassy in Cairo issued 1,800 visas to Egypt’s parliament general secretariat – three for each member – to allow them to visit Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage.

Following the offer, a text message was sent informing MPs that they had one week to submit the names of who would be using the visas.

Read: Egypt’s Sisi approves island transfer to Saudi Arabia

The Egyptian presidency, parliament, cabinet and foreign ministry are given “courtesy visas” by the Saudi Embassy in Cairo annually, however this year’s allocation is three times the usual number issued. Other sovereign bodies, diplomats and journalists are also given the courtesy visas. However the increase from the usual procedure is due to Egypt’s parliament approving the transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia which sparked public anger. The number of visas issued by Riyadh to Egypt increased from 62,511 in 2016 to 78,138 this year.